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Temperament has not been taken into account in previous studies evaluating the stress response to exercise in horses. The aim of the present study was to investigate the cortisol response in Thoroughbred racehorses to a single exercise bout, and to analyse the results based on the basic personality of the horse examined. Twenty healthy Thoroughbred horses were selected for the study based on a 25-item rating questionnaire survey used for characterising equine temperament. Eight temperamental and twelve calm horses took part in the experiment. The horses trotted as a warm-up activity, and then galloped on a rounded sand track. Blood sampling was conducted four times for each horse. Horses with a more excitable temperament showed a higher cortisol response to the test (P = 0.036). In conclusion, cortisol levels in response to a mild intensive exercise can be affected by temperament in horses. Serum cortisol may be a relevant marker to quantify individual temperamental differences in racehorses.

Open access
Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors:
Zoltán Szelényi
,
Dorottya Győri
,
Szabolcs Boldizsár
,
Levente Kovács
,
Attila Répási
,
László Molnár
, and
Ottó Szenci

The aim of this study was to examine the effect of twin pregnancy, fetal laterality, the number of corpora lutea (CL) and cavitary CL on pregnancy losses in Holstein-Friesian cows with a positive pregnancy diagnosis based on ultrasonography between days 29–42 after AI. Pregnancy was confirmed by transrectal palpation between days 57–70 after AI and at the time of drying-off as well. Twin pregnancy rate was 8.4% at the time of the early pregnancy examination. Pregnancy loss did not differ between singleton- and twin-carrying animals either between days 57–70 of gestation or at drying-off. More losses occurred in singletons between days 29–42 and 57–70 in cows with cavitary than in cows with noncavitary CL (12.1% vs. 3.6%; P < 0.05) and in cows with double CL than in cows with single CL (7.3% vs. 3.6% %; P < 0.05). Between days 57–70 of gestation and drying-off this difference was still significant (20.7% vs. 3.7%; P < 0.001), while it was non-significant between cows with one CL (5.7%) vs. double CL (3.7%). Cavity occurrence was not affected by hormone therapy prior to AI (either PGF2α or OvSynch; 4.4% vs. 5.4%, respectively); however, the number of CL was reduced by the treatments (11.6 vs. 19.6%; P < 0.0005). In twin pregnancies there was no difference in the pregnancy losses between bilateral and unilateral pregnancies at any time point. The length of gestation was 278.2 ± 10.5 (singleton) and 267.4 ± 31.2 (twin) days, respectively (P < 0.01). The stillbirth ratio was higher in twin carriers than in singleton carriers (19.5% vs. 5.3%; P < 0.001).

Open access
Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors:
Lea Lénárt
,
Marcel Taverne
,
Peter Wolleswinkel
,
Zoltán Gubik
,
László Molnár
, and
Ottó Szenci

The aim of this study was to create a fetal heart rate (FHR) reference curve for singleton bovine fetuses in the first trimester of gestation and to determine its possible relationship with the outcome of pregnancy. Forty-eight Holstein-Friesian cows with one fetus and five cows with twins were used. Fetal heart beatings were recorded on videotape during transrectal scanning with a 5 and/or 7.5 MHz linear array transducer on a weekly basis between Days 40 and 95 of gestation. FHR was calculated by averaging the results of five counts of the same record by the same observer. For singleton pregnancies, a reference curve was created using the mean, the standard deviation (SD) and the 5th and 95th percentiles. The FHR increased from Days 40–46 (173 beats/min) to Days 61–67 (183 beats/min). After a peak, the FHR decreased slowly until Days 89–95 (175 beats/min), while the SD increased. There was no significant difference between singleton and twin fetuses. in the aborted and lost fetuses in twin gestation due to fetal reduction, both bradycardia and tachycardia were detected compared to the singleton pregnancy reference curve.

Open access

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to explore the influence of postpartum drenching with a feed additive on the plasma concentration of biochemical parameters while factoring in prepartum rumination times (RT). One hundred and sixty-one cows were fitted with a Ruminact© HR-Tag approximately 5 days before calving. Drenching and control groups were established based on calving dates. Animals in the drenched group were treated three times (Day 1/day of calving/, Day 2, and Day 3 postpartum) using a feed additive containing calcium propionate, magnesium sulphate, yeast, potassium chloride and sodium chloride mixed in approximately 25 L of lukewarm tap water. Blood samples were collected on Days 1, 2, 3, 7 and 12. Cows with below the average RT were categorised as “low rumination” and those above it as “high rumination” animals. Drenching decreased the plasma concentrations of total protein, urea and creatinine and increased the levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and chloride. Low rumination time prepartum resulted in higher concentrations of beta-hydroxybutyrate, total protein and activities of alkaline phosphatase and GGT, while it decreased the activity of ALT and the concentrations of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. The day of lactation had an effect on all parameters except for potassium.

Open access

Abstract

The aim of this research was to investigate the effect of drenching with a feed additive on rumination time (RT) and reticuloruminal pH post-partum at a Hungarian large-scale dairy farm. One hundred and sixty-one cows were fitted with a Ruminact© HR-Tag and from these 20 also received SmaXtec© ruminal boli approximately 5 days before calving. Drenching and control groups were established based on calving dates. Animals in the drenching group were dosed three times (Day 0/day of calving/, Day 1, and Day 2 after calving) using a feed additive containing calcium propionate, magnesium sulphate, yeast, potassium chloride and sodium chloride mixed in approximately 25 L of lukewarm water. RT before calving and sensitivity to subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) were considered in the final analysis. There was a significant decrease in RT in the drenched groups compared to the controls after drenching. Reticuloruminal pH was significantly higher and time below reticuloruminal pH 5.8 remained significantly lower in SARA-tolerant drenched animals on the days of the first and the second drenchings. Drenching temporarily decreased RT in both drenched groups compared to controls. The feed additive had a positive effect on reticuloruminal pH and time below reticuloruminal pH 5.8 in tolerant drenched animals.

Open access

Transabdominal ultrasonography has been shown to be a useful and reliable method for assessing fetal well-being in horses and cattle. To test the applicability of fetal aortic diameter measurement in cattle, 44 late-term pregnant cows and heifers were examined 21 to 0 days prior to calving. Mean fetal aortic diameter was 2.07 ± 0.14 cm and mean fetal heart rate (FHR) was 109 ± 17 bpm. Three dead calves were dissected and their aortic diameter was measured in a water bath. The mean birth weight (n = 44) was 39.9 ± 5.8 kg. There was a significant negative correlation between FHR and fetal aortic diameter. However, although some studies have shown that fetal aortic diameter strongly correlates with birth weight in near-term horses and cattle, in this study there was no correlation between fetal aortic diameter and birth weight in Holstein-Friesian cows and heifers irrespective of whether the fetus was born alive or dead.

Open access
Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors:
Ottó Szenci
,
Kamal Touati
,
Noelita Melo De Sousa
,
Jean-Luc Hornick
,
Gijsbert Cornelis Van der Weyden
,
Marcel Antonie Marie Taverne
, and
Jean-François Beckers

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was to further develop and extensively describe a surgical technique in order to realise long-term fetal blood sampling in the bovine species. Eleven Holstein–Friesian 6- to 8-month pregnant cows (4–10 years old) were used for this study. Gestational age on the day of surgery varied from approximately 180 days (n = 1) to 240 days (minimum: 232 days, maximum 252 days; n = 10). The fetal medial tarsal artery was catheterised in pregnant cows with a polyvinyl catheter in dorsal recumbency under general anaesthesia. Although 5 out of 11 operations (45.5%) performed between 232 and 252 days of gestation were lost due to different causes mainly associated with peritonitis and septicaemia, the mean interval between operations and calvings was 42.5 days (between 27 and 95 days). It is important to emphasise that a well-trained surgical team is needed for bovine fetal cannulation in order to be able to decrease the risk factors during the operations. Due to the fact that after 5 unsuccessful cases none of the pregnancies were lost, this skill can be reached, and our technique can enable bovine fetal blood sampling for long-term endocrinological and physiological investigations before and during parturition.

Open access
Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors:
Orsolya Kutasi
,
Orsolya Fehér
,
Sára Sárdi
,
Nándor Balogh
,
Anna Nagy
,
Leticia Moravszki
,
Emese Bódai
, and
Ottó Szenci

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) is a zoonotic arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes between wild birds (natural hosts) and other vertebrates. Horses and humans are incidental, dead-end hosts, but can develop severe neurological disorders. Owing to the close contact of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) with the extracellular fluid of the brain, the analysis of CSF composition can reflect central nervous system (CNS) impairments enabling the diagnosis and understanding of various neurodegenerative CNS disorders. Our objective was to compare the findings from the CSF samples of horses with neuroinvasive WNV infection with those of healthy controls. We compared findings from fifteen CSF samples of 13 horses with acute WNV encephalomyelitis with those of 20 healthy controls. Protein, particular enzymes and ions, glucose and lactate showed abnormal levels in a significant number of WNV cases. None of the six horses with elevated glucose concentrations survived. Rather neutrophilic than mononuclear pleocytosis was identified with WNV infection. Neutrophils probably play a role in the development of inflammatory response and brain damage. Although elevated glucose levels reliably predicted the outcome, they might be the consequence of increased plasma levels and reflect general stress rather than CNS pathophysiology. The CSF findings of WNV encephalomyelitis patients are non-specific and variable but facilitate the differential diagnosis.

Open access
Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors:
Boglárka Vincze
,
Márta Varga
,
Orsolya Kutasi
,
Petra Zenke
,
Ottó Szenci
,
Ferenc Baska
,
Alan Bartels
,
Sándor Spisák
,
Sándor Cseh
, and
Norbert Solymosi

Abstract

Equine grass sickness (also known as dysautonomia) is a life-threatening polyneuropathic disease affecting horses with approx. 80% mortality. Since its first description over a century ago, several factors, such as the phenotype, intestinal microbiome, environment, management and climate, have been supposed to be associated with the increased risk of dysautonomia. In this retrospective study, we examined the possible involvement of genetic factors. Medical and pedigree datasets regarding 1,233 horses with 49 affected animals born during a 23-year period were used in the analysis. Among the descendants of some stallions, the proportion of animals diagnosed with dysautonomia was unexpectedly high. Among males, the odds of dysautonomia were found to be higher, albeit not significantly, than among females. Significant familial clustering (genealogical index of familiality, P = 0.001) was observed among the affected animals. Further subgroups were identified with significant (P < 0.001) aggregation among close relatives using kinship-based methods. Our analysis, along with the slightly higher disease frequency in males, suggests that dysautonomia may have a genetic causal factor with an X-linked recessive inheritance pattern. This is the first study providing ancestry data and suggesting a heritable component in the likely multifactorial aetiology of the disease.

Open access
Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors:
Csaba Attila Kósa
,
Krisztina Nagy
,
Ottó Szenci
,
Boglárka Baska-Vincze
,
Emese Andrásofszky
,
Róbert Szép
,
Ágnes Keresztesi
,
Mircea Mircean
,
Marian Taulescu
, and
Orsolya Kutasi

Abstract

A severe form of recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis occurs enzootically in a well-defined region of Transylvania, Harghita county. At the highest lying two settlements (more than 800 m above sea level), the prevalence of equine rhabdomyolysis is between 17 and 23%, while in the neighbouring villages in the valley it is less than 2%. The objective of our study was to clarify the role of selenium and vitamin E in the high prevalence of rhabdomyolysis in that region. Soil and hay samples were collected from each area to evaluate mineral content. Ten horses from the non-affected and 20 horses from the affected area were tested for serum selenium, vitamin E, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), muscle enzymes, lactate and electrolytes. Hay samples collected from the affected area had lower selenium content. Horses in the affected regions had significantly lower serum selenium (P = 0.006) and GSH-Px levels than animals living in the non-affected regions. A good correlation between erythrocyte GSH-Px and serum selenium concentration could be demonstrated (r = 0.777, P < 0.001). Serum vitamin E levels were low independently of the origin of the horse. Based on our results, selenium deficiency possibly has a role in the Transylvanian enzootic equine recurrent rhabdomyolysis syndrome.

Open access